Ask the Waste Wizard to find out where and how to properly dispose of an item.

The City collects organic material from approximately 460,000 houses, as well as most apartment and condo buildings, schools and City-owned buildings.

The Green Bin program helps keep waste out of landfill by collecting and processing organics into material that can be used to create nutrient-rich compost used to feed and nourish soil. Putting food scraps in the Green Bin also means they can be used to create renewable natural gas that the City can use to help power its vehicles and heat its buildings. When you toss food scraps in the garbage, they go to landfill and create harmful greenhouse gases.

Learn how the Green Bin can help create Renewable Natural Gas.

Step 1:

First, your Green Bin scraps are collected and delivered to the processing facilities.

Step 2:

The scraps are then broken down into biogas and digester solids.

Step 3:

The digester solids are turned into high-quality compost used to feed and nourish soil.

Step 4:

The biogas is captured and upgraded into a Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), which creates less greenhouse gas emissions than other fuels.

Step 5:

The RNG is then injected into the grid and is blended with fossilized natural gas to create a lower carbon fuel. This project is one of the first of its kind in North America.

Step 6:

Lastly, the RNG is used to help heat the City’s buildings and fuel its vehicles.

Learn more about how Green Bin organic waste is processed and how the City is creating Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from Green Bin organics.


  • All food waste, whether fresh, frozen, dried, prepared, cooked or spoiled, can be placed in the Green Bin
  • Line your kitchen catcher (i.e. indoor organics container) or Green Bin (not both) with any plastic bag (e.g. grocery, milk, produce). Compostable plastic bags are not necessary.
  • Twist or loosely tie the plastic bag (no twist ties)
  • Take food items out of their plastic bags/wrap (check your collection calendar or Waste Wizard to see if packaging can go in the Blue Bin recycling)
  • Remove stickers, twist ties and elastic bands from produce as too much plastic or other contaminants can result in lower quality compost
  • To prevent odours, wash kitchen catchers and Green Bins frequently (both can be cleaned with dish soap)
  • Consider storing organic waste in your freezer or fridge to reduce odours and flies, particularly in the summer months
  • Kitchen containers for organics may be purchased from various retailers
  • For new, additional or replacement Green Bins for houses, contact 311

meat, vegetables, eggs, cheese, coffee, bread, pasta and a plant


All Food Waste

  • Vegetable scraps and peels, corn cobs and husks
  • Fruit cores, pits, peels
  • Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish (including bones)
  • Pasta, bread, grains, cereals, rice, flour
  • Dairy products, eggs (including shells)
  • Nuts, nutshells
  • Baked goods, desserts


  • Paper napkins, paper towels, tissues (if soiled with chemicals such as cleaning products, place in the Garbage Bin)
  • Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags
  • Food-soiled paper plates and takeout containers (not waxed or plastic-coated)
  • Paper bags (e.g. from flour, sugar) if soiled (if clean, place in the Blue Bin)
  • Food-soiled pizza boxes
  • Paper muffin cups (not waxed or parchment)
  • House plants, including soil
  • Pet waste
  • Diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
Items not accepted in the green bin


  • Plastic bags (soft and stretchy)
  • Plastic food containers (rinsed – no food residue)
  • Aluminum pie plates, trays, roasting pans (rinsed – no food residue)
  • Foam trays (absorbent pads and plastic wrap are garbage)


  • Compostable plastic and plastic-lined paper containers, cups, cutlery
  • Wax or plastic-coated paper plates, takeout containers
  • Plastic-lined paper packaging (e.g. single-serve oatmeal packs, some outer tea bags)
  • Waxed and parchment paper
  • Plastic bags (rigid and crinkly)
  • Stand-up pouches
  • Plastic food wrap (stretchy)
  • Meat/fish tray absorbent pads
  • Hot and cold drink cups
  • Aluminum foil wrap
  • Chopsticks, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, stir sticks
  • Cotton balls, cotton tipped swabs, make-up pads, dental floss, baby wipes, dryer sheets
  • Hair, pet fur, feathers, nail clippings
  • Gum, wax, wine corks, vacuum bags/contents
  • Cigarette butts, fireplace and BBQ ashes

The City does not accept the following items marketed or labelled as compostable or biodegradable in its Green Bin organics program:

  • containers/packaging
  • coffee pods
  • coffee cups
  • cutlery

These items, which may be made of or lined with a bio-based plastic, must be disposed of in the garbage. Alternatively, products can be returned to retailers/manufacturers that offer take-back programs.

The City commissioned research related to disposal of single-serve coffee and tea pods. The findings include feedback from Toronto residents about use, attitudes and disposal behaviours.

Why the City doesn’t accept these items in the Green Bin

What goes in the Green Bin is very important as the organic material is used to create high-quality compost that can be used to feed and nourish soil. The Green Bin program was designed primarily to handle food waste as well as some fibre/paper products. It was not designed to process packaging.

Instead of traditional composting, the City uses anaerobic digestion technology to process Green Bin waste. Before organic material goes into the anaerobic digesters, it goes through a pre-processing phase to remove any contamination. In this phase, anything that behaves like a plastic, regardless of what it is made of, is removed and sent to landfill. Bio-based plastics, such as compostable plastic bags and cutlery, behave like plastic and as such are removed during the pre-processing phase and sent to landfill.

Why the City uses anaerobic digestion to process organics

There are many benefits to using anaerobic digestion to process organics. The City chose anaerobic digestion because it:

  • produces nutrient-rich digester solids that can be turned into high-quality compost
  • reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of organic waste processing by allowing the biogas generated to be captured and burned off so that methane doesn’t escape into the atmosphere
  • provides an opportunity to create green energy by upgrading biogas into renewable natural gas
  • makes participation in the Green Bin program easier by allowing residents to put organics in regular plastic bags that can be removed in the pre-processing stage versus having to buy and use compostable bags
  • minimizes odours allowing the City to process organics within city limits in a controlled facility

Learn more about what happens to organics once they are picked up at the curb.

The City has installed Green Bins for organic waste in all Dog Off-Leash Areas in parks across the city. In parks that do not have a Green Bin, residents are encouraged to dispose of dog poop and other organic waste in garbage bins or take it home and place it in the Green Bin.